Pelosi Claims Adding a Citizenship Question to the Census Violates a 'Constitutional Mandate'

Posted: Mar 27, 2018 2:00 PM

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) condemned the Trump Administration’s announcement that they will be reinstating the citizenship question on the 2020 census to help enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“The Trump Administration’s late night announcement of a new citizenship question violates the clear constitutional mandate to provide an accurate count of all people living in the United States,” she said in a statement Tuesday. 

“This detrimental change will inject fear and distrust into vulnerable communities,” she added, “and cause traditionally undercounted communities to be even further under-represented, financially excluded and left behind.”

She called the decision “disturbing” and said Trump “pushed this decision as a dog-whistle tactic to raise funds for his campaign committee.” 

Pelosi claimed “the Trump Administration put politics over the Constitution and, in so doing, ignored the consensus views of former Census Bureau directors of both parties and the conclusions of the Census Bureau’s own recent study, which warns of ‘an unprecedented groundswell in confidential and data sharing concerns, particularly among immigrants or those who live with immigrants.’”

The Commerce Department announced the decision Monday night.

“The citizenship question will be the same as the one that is asked on the yearly American Community Survey (ACS),” they emphasize in a statement. “Citizenship questions have also been included on prior decennial censuses. Between 1820 and 1950, almost every decennial census asked a question on citizenship in some form. Today, surveys of sample populations, such as the Current Population Survey and the ACS, continue to ask a question on citizenship.”

“On December 12, 2017, DOJ requested that the Census Bureau reinstate a citizenship question on the decennial census to provide census block level citizenship voting age population (CVAP) data that is not currently available from government surveys,” the statement explains. “DOJ and the courts use CVAP data for the enforcement of Section 2 of the VRA, which protects minority voting rights.”

Pelosi was not the only Democrat to denounce the move. California sued the administration Tuesday over the question.

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